Everybody knows about the NYC dirty dog--the hot dogs that sit in lukewarm water and are sold out of carts. But, for me, the tastiest NYC frank can be found at Papaya King. **
Papaya King is a tiny take-out on the corner of 86th St. and Third Ave. Red and yellow "decor," no seating. If you want to eat there, you stand at a counter. Papaya juice and hot dogs? Sounds crazy--but surprisingly good together.
I was having my "two, well, plain and a papaya" the other day--and over the sounds of people ordering, the rumble of the subway underneath, the brakes on buses that stop on that busy corner, people walking, talking shouting outside, I could hear Aaron Copand's Appalachian Spring playing on Papaya King's boom box. *** The Simple Gifts section started and I couldn't help but think how much I was enjoying the "simple gifts" of the sounds, sights, tastes and even the smells of NYC.
(I didn't think to take a photo till I was finished. Sorry! )
Standing next to me was a woman wearing an attractive headband. The colors of it complemented her hair and, being the old lady who speaks her mind that I'm turning into, I told her that I liked her headband. Not to my surprise, she told me that she had made it herself. Crocheting and yarn and wire were all involved. To add sparkle, she clipped on a large earring.
What a precious and "simple gift" this woman gave me when she shared not only her know-how but also told me of her granddaughters and how they ask for headbands to match all their outfits. "Too many crazy colors--but, I make them."
** There are other hot dog and papaya stands in NYC--but don't be fooled by these impostors. Papaya King on 86th and 3rd is the best!
*** Yeah, Appalachian Spring was really playing. Beyond bizarre. Papaya King's ambiance doesn't exactly shout classical music.